Residents of Pittsburg and Bay Point can breathe a little easier today, after Chief Jeff Carmen of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District announced that Station 87 would be reopened. Chief Carmen made his announcement at Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, acting as the County Fire Protection District Board of Directors.
“Thanks to the partnership with the City of Pittsburg and an improved economy, ConFire can fill a gap that has existed since the station was shuttered three years ago,” said Supervisor Federal Glover, in whose district the station is located.
Station 87, located on Leland Road and John Henry Johnson Parkway in Pittsburg, is expected to
be staffed and open for service by January 1, 2017. While the station was closed, it took two stations – one in Bay Point and one in Pittsburg – to answer the calls that normally would be serviced by Station 87.
“Without Station 87, fire services took longer to reach residents and businesses on the western half of the City,” said Pittsburg Mayor Ben Johnson. “We needed it to come back, and we’re pleased the County and the Fire District are able to restore this critical service to Pittsburg.”
Station 87 opened in 2000, serving the western end of Pittsburg and portions of Bay Point until the fire district’s finances forced its closure on July 8, 2013. The station closure, one of six that were shut down, was necessary because the district had failed to secure voter approval of a parcel tax in 2012 to address its budget woes.
In the years since the station closed, the ConFire has made several cost-saving changes, including partnering with a private contractor for ambulance service and seeking new revenue to
support its operations. The economic recovery has also helped.
For its part, Pittsburg’s City Council recently approved a new Fire Services Community Facilities District, which will collect a fee from every new home built in the city to support fire services. It is a model Contra Costa County is looking at duplicating, but for now, Pittsburg is the only city in the county to use this method to support fire services. For the past decade, Pittsburg has used a similar special district to support police services in newly developed areas of the City.
“With Prop. 13 limiting our property tax, which funds fire-fighting services, we need to find other funding sources,” said Glover. “Pittsburg’s special district fees is one way of making up the gap in what is collected and the market increases in wages and equipment.”